During the last three-plus decades, extremists in this country
hostile to America’s Judeo-Christian tradition have succeeded in
erecting an almost absolute barrier between church and state.
These anti-biblical zealots claim to have been acting in deference to
constitutional principles. In fact, they have acted in willful disregard
of those principles — revealing their contempt, not their allegiance,
to our constitutional heritage.
The framers of the Constitution never intended to erect a wall of
separation between church and state, merely to prevent the government
from establishing a state religion.
Even liberal Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas acknowledged
that the framers didn’t forbid all church and state interaction. In
Zorach vs. Clausen (1952), he stated, “The First Amendment … does not
say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church
and State. … Otherwise the state and religion would be aliens to each
other — hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly. … Municipalities
would not be permitted to render police or fire protection to religious
groups. Policemen who helped parishioners into their places of worship
would violate the Constitution. Prayers in our legislative halls; the
appeals to the Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the
proclamation of Thanksgiving as a holiday; ‘so help me God’ in our
courtroom oaths — these and all laws, our public rituals, our
ceremonies, would be flouting the First Amendment.”
Last week, Congress showed uncharacteristic courage by enacting
politically incorrect legislation permitting the Ten Commandments to be
displayed in schools and other government buildings. This represents a
radical liberation from our cultural bondage to liberal historical
Last week, Joe Farah made the excellent point that “the Ten
Commandments form the very basis of Western law.” We should be aware
that other Biblical laws were also foundational to our system of
In the Book of Exodus following the Ten Commandments are further
laws, sometimes collectively referred to as the Book of the Covenant.
As a lawyer, I was fascinated to discover just how much of our law —
torts, contracts, property and criminal law — is obviously traceable to
this section of Scripture. One provision reminded me of my first year in
In Torts class, we studied the rules regarding an animal owner’s
liability for harboring a dangerous animal, most often applied to dogs.
Our professor told us that many mistakenly believed that dog owners were
exempted from liability for their dog’s first bite. But the rule was a
bit more sophisticated.
Rather, a dog owner (or owner of any other kind of animal) was liable
if he had knowledge of his animal’s vicious propensities prior to the
animal injuring a person, even if the animal had never bitten or injured
anyone before. I had assumed that this “more sophisticated” rule
concerning knowledge of vicious propensities had replaced the simplistic
“first-bite” rule. Not so!
When I read Exodus 21:28-29 and 35-36, I was amazed to find that the
“sophisticated rule” was not new at all, but had derived from those
passages: “If a man’s bull injures the bull of another and it dies, they
are to sell the live one and divide both the money and the dead animal
equally. However, if it was known that the bull had the habit of goring,
yet the owner did not keep it penned up, the owner must pay, animal for
animal, and the dead animal will be his.”
As you can see, the animal owner’s knowledge of his animal’s vicious
propensities is what triggers his liability. And there is no question
that today’s legal principle concerning vicious propensities emanates
from this ancient, biblical law. A reading of the other specific laws in
the Book of the Covenant reveals additional striking similarities to
laws still in force today.
Indeed, English jurist William Blackstone observed that the entire
English legal system, including the jury system, the court system and
the practice of oaths, was based on the Bible. The American legal
system, of course, is based on the English system. U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Joseph Story in 1829 wrote, “There never has been a period in
which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its
Don’t be fooled by the secular elite into believing that our Founding
Fathers feared any intrusion of biblical precepts into our governmental
Those who teach that the framers prescribed total separation of
church and state are pitifully divorced from objective truth and from
undoctored American history.